Can You Wash Towels With Baking Soda? How-to Guide

“Can I wash my towels with baking soda?” 

If this question has constantly been popping on your mind, I’m glad to tell you that you can definitely wash your towels with baking soda and this post will guide you on how to achieve that.

You can wash your towels with baking soda to bring out their freshness, eliminate musty odor, and ensure your towels are sparkling clean and cool.

Sometimes, no matter how much we wash our towels or any yarn-knitted cloth, even if we use sufficient laundry detergent, there is this “off smell” or musty odor we get from them.

Your towel will start to smell for several reasons, which include the following

  • You don’t always allow your towel to dry out fully before folding it and it’s becoming mildew.
  • You are washing your towel with too much laundry detergent or fabric softener.  

The second reason is the huge and most common reason for smelling towels.

Most of us intentionally add too much detergent or fabric washer when washing our towel. Perhaps, we believe that adding more detergent makes better washing.

But the truth is, this action ends up giving your towel the nasty smell over time. 

That aside, washing your towels with laundry detergent can also cause a buildup over time.

This buildup forms a film over the towels and makes them to quickly lose their absorbency.

Once your towel is covered with film and loses its ability to absorb water from your skin, it also loses its softness and becomes uncomfortable and rough against your tender skin.

If this is the current state of your towel, don’t worry – there is an assured way to get your towel clean again.

Simply follow this guide and you’ll be keeping your towels in a clean and perfect condition always.

Use Baking Soda Combined With Vinegar to Wash Your Towels

Since the prime cause of your towel’s “off smell” and lack of absorbency is the gradual buildup of the laundry detergent, fabric softener, and chemical oils, it’s necessary to change your cleaning agent.

Baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) and vinegar are two common cooking ingredients we always have in our kitchen cabinet but only a few people know that these are also very active household cleaners for keeping towels clean.

While baking soda is alkaline and would help to neutralize the “off smell” or any other odors, vinegar is a dilute acetic acid and would dissolve any buildup or mineral deposit on your towel. 

So, what exactly would the baking soda do? Together with the vinegar, the baking soda would:

  • Boost the performance of the laundry detergent, especially those that lack the necessary enzymes that effectively fight bacteria.
  • Control excess soapsuds
  • Get rid of grimes and naturally soften your towel
  • Remove or at least reduce musty odors from your towels.

All you have to do to enjoy the combined benefits of baking soda and vinegar is to observe the following:

Add a cup of white vinegar to warm water in your washer and stir gently. Dip your towel into the washer and wash gently.

Mind you, add only the white vinegar, and avoid laundry detergent or fabric softener.

After washing your towel for a few minutes, discard the liquid. Add a half cup of baking soda to warm water in the washer and wash your towel for the second time.

Baking soda is a mild natural abrasive and will get rid of any remaining grime. Just ensure you don’t add any extra thing extra.

After washing your towel, dry it using the hottest dryer setting for about 40 mins. to 60 mins. until it is completely dried.

This will eliminate any moisture and vinegar in the towel. Afterward, spread your towel on a line for a lovely fresh smell.

However, if the “off smell” persists, repeat the entire process above but this time around with 2 cups of white vinegar.

Also, allow the towel to soak in the warm water with vinegar for a few hours before continuing with the process.

If this process is done properly, your towel won’t smell like vinegar.

Make sure that you don’t mix the white vinegar and baking soda in the washer at the same time.

While it’s fine if a little of vinegar goes with your towel into the baking soda, don’t mix them deliberately.

Remember, baking soda is alkaline and vinegar is acidic, a neutralization reaction will occur that will not only cause your washer to overflow with soap lather but also render the entire process ineffective.

Additional Tips to Keep Your Towel Clean and Fresh

Although the steps above will get rid of “off smell” and buildup from your towel, making it clean, soft, absorbing, and refreshing, there are some other things you can do to maintain your towel and keep it fresh.

Here are other things you can do to keep your towel smelling great: 

i). Dry your towel

Immediately after drying off your body with your towel after a bath or shower, hang up or spread your towel to dry it.

If you need to fold your towel or stash it in your closet, always make sure that your towel is 100% dry. Folding or stashing your towel with moisture in it will give it “off smell.”

ii). Don’t use excess detergent

When you need to wash your towel with laundry detergent, make sure that you don’t use excess detergent.

Always measure out and use only the little amount of laundry detergent needed for washing your towel. 

Remember, using an excess amount of laundry detergent can give your towel an “off smell.”

iii). Avoid fabric softener

Try as much as possible to stay away from fabric softener when drying your towel in a washing machine.

Fabric softener contains chemical oil and other residues, which can make your towel to become less absorbent.

It’s advisable to use vinegar instead because it’s a natural fabric softener. Simply add a cup of white vinegar when rinsing your towel.

Before using your towel for the first time, make sure you wash it. This is because most towels have silicone finishes, which will impede their ability to absorb moisture.

The silicone finishes always make towels appear extra fluffy when new.

However, this silicone coating is removed when you wash your new towel, giving your towel an improved ability to absorb moisture.

Wash your towel often, at most every 3 to 4 days. Wash your white towel with hot water and non-chlorine bleach, if necessary.

Wash your colored towel with warm water and color-safe bleach, if necessary.

Avoid washing your white towel with other colored fabrics. It may lead to subtle discoloration over time.

In fact, for sanitary reasons, it’s advisable to wash your towel separately from other clothes.

More so, wet clothes dry faster than a wet towel. So, it’s not advisable to wash and dry them together.

If you do, you will be having a towel that is not fully dried and you know what that means – musty, mildewy odor.

Avoid using pressing iron on your towel – you don’t need it. Ironing your towel can reduce its absorbency.

When washing your towels, don’t over tumble them. Over tumbling your towels in a dryer, especially if you’re drying your towels using the hottest dryer setting, may cause long-term damage to your high-quality cotton towels.

Cotton towels are very susceptible to heat. But you still love to feel that warmth and comfort from a fluffy towel.

Don’t load too many towels into your washer. Overloading your washer with many towels is a bad idea.

Remember, towels are heavy. They will only cause your washer to struggle, contributing to its damage or breakdown in the long run.

More so, if you load your washer with towels, your towels may not wash and rinse properly. This is because there won’t be enough room inside your washer to allow the free flow of water.


Are your towels already bringing out musty, mildewy odor, are they hard on your skin, or have they lost their absorbency?

Restoring and keeping your towels clean and fresh always doesn’t have to be a herculean task. 

Simply follow our guide above with baking soda and vinegar and your towels will stay clean, grime-free, soft, fluffy, and comforting on your skin for a long time.

Do you still have any questions about washing your towels with baking soda or vinegar? Contact or call us today and we’ll be happy to assist you.